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10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

We make hundreds of financial decisions every day. Most are simple — do you want fries with that? — but some decisions can be quite complex. As you approach different phases of life, you may find yourself asking these questions, in need of guidance. There are a great many resources available online but I’ve highlighted my favorite 10 online financial calculators to make your life easier:

Should I Buy Or Lease?

The number of cars purchased by 18- to 34-year-olds fell nearly 30 percent from 2007 to 2011. This trend has continued with the rapid adoption of services like ZipCar so the importance of getting a good deal is more important than ever before. Use this calculator to weigh your options and make the best decision.

1 - Should I Buy Or Lease?

      (http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanLeaseCalc.jsp?mode=full)

    How Much House Can I Afford?

    Likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, buying a home can be daunting. Give this calculator a workout in the early stages of your home search to ensure you factor in all expenses and land on a house budget that won’t leave you over extended.

    2 - How Much House Can I Afford?

        (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/new-house-calculator.aspx)

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      When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

      The average American household has more than $15,000 in credit card debt with average interest rates hovering around 17%. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, it’s critically important to develop a debt payoff plan and take a hard look at your credit card balances first. This powerful, easy to use tool allows you to input all your credit card balance and rate information to experiment with multiple pay down plans.

      3 - When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

        (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/debt-free/)

        How Close Am I To My Savings Goal?

        The power of setting goals cannot be overstated. The power of achieving those goals and raising the bar works wonders for your confidence. Financial goals are no different and this thorough calculator will keep you on track.

        4 - How CLose Am I To My Savings Goal?

            (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/savings-goal-calculator-tool.aspx)

          What Happens If I Become Disabled?

          I’ve outlined before (

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          http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/8-crucial-financial-moves-make-your-30s.html) your most valuable asset is your future earnings potential. LifeHappens, a non-profit foundation for education, helps quantify the income protection you may be lacking with this tool. 5 - What Happens If I Become Disabled?

              (http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/disability-insurance/calculate-your-needs/)

            Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

            The age-old question: how much do I need? After consulting your financial planner for a retirement analysis, plug your current retirement savings plan into this robust calculator and adjust as needed. Remember, you need to actually MAKE any desired savings plan changes!

            6 - Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

                (http://www.bloomberg.com/personal-finance/calculators/retirement/)

              Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

              Admittedly, paying for your kids’ college can seem like a fantasy. The earlier you start saving, and saving intelligently, the more likely you are to reach your goal. My Father paid every penny of college tuition for me and my two brothers — hands down, there’s no greater gift. The College Board provides this analysis which considers very important factors like inflation and time horizon.

              7 - Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

                  (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-calculator)

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                How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                Many online and TV pundits advocate for debt free living which, for most people, means eliminating the mortgage as your most significant liability. Whether you subscribe to this ideal or you simply want to accelerate payments, this tool will help shape your payoff plan. Keep in mind, if you have a “sweetheart” mortgage interest rate, you may be better off allocating your accelerated payments elsewhere.

                8 - How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                    (http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/mortgage_payoff_calculator/)

                  What Will It Cost to Care For My Elders?

                  It’s no secret the cost of medical care is on the rise. Some industry estimates peg the cost of a private nursing home room to double over the next 15 years. Hopefully your parents and grandparents have made ample arrangements to pay for these expenses. This calculator will help you evaluate the current and projected costs in your area. Don’t know if Mom and Dad are covered? The financial burden may fall on your shoulders so ask them!

                  9 - What Will It Cost To Care For My Elders?

                      (http://www.johnhancockinsurance.com/long-term-care/cost-of-long-term-care-calculator/index.html        

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                    10.  How Long Will I Live?

                    I can’t direct you to the fountain of youth but I can steer you towards this simple exercise the bright Ivy League minds at The Wharton School created. Certainly, it’s not perfect but it will give you an idea of life expectancy so you can plan for an adequate retirement, debt management, life insurance funding, legacy planning and a slew of other important financial decisions.

                    10 - How Long Will I Live?

                        (http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html)

                      Albert Camus famously mused “Life is the sum of all your choices.” Making sound financial decisions is paramount to living the life of your dreams and no one can make sensible choices without knowledge and understanding. Use these calculators to identify the impact of significant life events and take control of your finances.

                      Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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                      Published on May 7, 2019

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

                      When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

                      Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

                      Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

                      You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

                      Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

                      1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

                      Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

                      But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

                      • Will you spend more time with your family?
                      • What does retirement mean to you?
                      • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

                      Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

                      Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

                      2. Figure out When to Invest

                      “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

                      It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

                      The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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                      A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

                      Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

                      3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

                      Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

                      Why?

                      Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

                      Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

                      Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

                      Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

                      4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

                      Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

                      If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

                      You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

                      1. Vanguard
                      2. TD Ameritrade
                      3. Charles Schwab

                      5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

                      Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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                      Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

                      That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

                      Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

                      A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

                      6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

                      The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

                      Robo Advisors

                      Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

                      Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

                      Bonds

                      Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

                      Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

                      Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

                      1. Treasury bonds
                      2. Government bonds
                      3. Corporate bonds
                      4. Foreign bonds
                      5. Mortgage-backed bonds
                      6. Municipal bonds

                      Mutual Funds

                      Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

                      One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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                      Real Estate

                      Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

                      Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

                      This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

                      But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

                      Savings Accounts

                      Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

                      7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

                      Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

                      So how can you master delayed gratification?

                      By building your discipline.

                      Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

                      Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

                      8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

                      I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

                      It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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                      More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

                      But, how can you invest yourself?

                      Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

                      Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

                      But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

                      Retire Happy with Excess Money

                      The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

                      It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

                      I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

                      Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

                      One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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                      Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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